Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The World in Your Lunch Box: The Wacky History and Weird Science of Everyday Foods; by Claire Earmer

The World in Your Lunch Box: The Wacky History and Weird Science of Everyday Foods

This is a Juvenile literature title with histories of favorite lunch box food items. Author Claire Earmer has selected different appropriate lunch box fare (sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, pita pockets, pizza, easy finger foods, and snacks) and breaks each component down tracing its history. While the history is both fun and well written with a kid in mind, the illustrations and art by Sa Boothroyd were really captivating and brought the words to life.

The World in Your Lunch Box isn't a recipe book, so if you are looking for a history or science book for your kids that is food related, this would be a good choice. The history of the different foods are intertwined with fun trivia. All my kids were impressed with Joey "Jaws" Chestnut's world record of eating 68 hotdogs and buns in 10 minutes, and every single one of them wanted to go to one of those Potato Schools to make French Fries like an expert. While the Lunch Laughs jokes had their eyes rolling, they enjoyed the fact that they were in there and looked for the jokes once they discovered it was a feature of the book (Q: What happens when you tell an egg a joke? A: It cracks up.).

Some of the topics were a little sobering. The kids didn't believe where they read in the book that chickens were much smaller in the past then they are today. I showed them a photo spread of a baked chicken dinner in an old cookbook (finally - a use for all those old cookbooks I collect! LOL) and indeed, even 50 years ago the breast meat of a typical dinner chicken was about half of what the kids see in chickens on their dinner table today. Old news for me but new news for them. They weren't much impressed with the technology of advanced breeding, which led to a lively dinner conversation and explanation later in the evening.

Overall, a great read, for both adults and kids. Of course, the author saved the best for last, and the Gross Fact at the end made the kids giggle and the adults in the house cringe because, indeed, some of humans favorite foods do have a 'yucky route to the table'. But we eat and enjoy different foods anyway, sometimes conveniently forgetting where it came from.

Book Information:

Disclosure: This galley was given by the publisher and any opinions are my own.

Renee Shelton
The Cookbook Papers


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